MINNEAPOLIS, MN — According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22% of high school students are victims of nonsexual dating violence.* And a survey of 1,000 high school students reports that more than 40 percent of girls and boys surveyed say their dating partners have physically or emotionally abused them.**
Statistics such as these reflect the rise of a new social phenomenon known as teen dating violence. The WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, Verizon Wireless, Cornerstone (a Bloomington, Minn.-based family violence prevention organization) and Another Level Records of the High School for Recording Arts (HSRA) have teamed up to bring awareness to this growing problem.
This campaign, known as "U Have the Right" and launching at the July 17 Lynx game, features a multi-faceted strategy for reaching victims and those at risk of becoming victims of teen dating violence. Verizon Wireless is underwriting the U Have the Right campaign with funding totaling $25,000.
"Verizon Wireless is fully committed to combating domestic violence in its various forms," said Rich Garwood, president - Great Plains Region, Verizon Wireless. "We are very pleased to bring awareness of this complex issue through U Have the Right to Minnesota and beyond."
The sponsors of U Have the Right have created the following events and resources to bring attention to teen dating violence:
- "U Have the Right" CD: Another Level Records of the HSRA has produced a Spoken Word CD with original work by high school students focused on teen dating violence experiences. The objective of the CD is to motivate teenagers, parents and teachers to start talking about relationship issues. Distribution of the CD will be limited to the first 3,000 fans attending the U Have the Right Lynx Game Night on July 17. Verizon Wireless is donating $2,000 to Another Level Records, earmarked for the students' summer projects.
- U Have the Right Lynx Game Night: The U Have the Right campaign premieres at this July 17 event, which is sponsored by Verizon Wireless. In addition to the distribution of the U Have the Right CD, Verizon Wireless and the Lynx will present a check for $5,000 to Cornerstone's PAVE (Preventing Abuse and Violence through Education) program to increase awareness of teen dating violence issues.
- The Lynx and U Have the Right Public Service Announcement (PSA): Star Lynx Forward Svetlana Abrosimova is featured in an important message on dating violence addressed to teenagers. The PSA, sponsored by Verizon Wireless, will be shown in the basketball arena before home games and on six regional television broadcasts.
- http://www.uhavetheright.net: Verizon Wireless has also sponsored the creation of a Web site, which features 1) information on healthy and unhealthy relationships, 2) a relationship test, 3) guidelines on what to do if you may be involved in—or know someone involved in—an unhealthy relationship and 4) resources for help and more information. The content for the site has been developed by Cornerstone's PAVE program and will be active on July 15.
"There is a real need to educate parents and teachers as well as teenagers about teen dating violence," said Susan Neis, executive director of Cornerstone. "Too often adults minimize the seriousness of teen relationships and the teenagers in an abusive situation don't know who to talk to or where to go for help."
*U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2002. http://www.cdc.gov/communication/tips/dateviol.htm
**O'Keefe, Maura and Laura Trester. "Victims of Dating Violence Among High School Students." Violence Against Women 4. "2": 195-223, 1998.
About Cornerstone's PAVE Program
Since 1993, Cornerstone's PAVE program has offered education and supportive services to junior high and high school students in South Hennepin County, Minn. Five full-time staff members teach classes, work with support groups and provide after-school individual mentorship to help students understand the dynamics of abusive relationships and enhance students' abilities to build their own healthy relationships. Cornerstone is a community-based non-profit organization whose purpose is prevention of violence and providing comprehensive services to victims of domestic abuse and their children. For more information visit http://www.cornerstonedv.com.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 30 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.
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